Tonight was interesting to say the least...
A friend and I decided to drive out to the country after reading that Aurora Borealis would be visible as far south as Raleigh NC, due to a
G3 magnetic storm.
currently in central IL, we figured an hours drive Northwest from the city of Peoria should provide plenty of distance from the city lights, giving us
good odds of seeing the awesome Northern Lights.
The half-Moon was still below the horizon at 9:00pm when we parked before a dilapidated bridge in the middle of nowhere. It was exceedingly dark, and
the skies were crystal clear. I had not even had the time to get out of the car before I saw the first fireball. This was not your typical shooting
star by any means. It burned slowly across the sky, breaking up and leaving a tail of sparks as it went.
That was just the first in a series of equally stunning meteors we saw within about five minutes
of parking the car. No obvious Auroras could
be seen yet, but I had just seen three of the most incredible fireballs of my life in a row, easily rivaling
which I felt was thread-worthy all by itself...
From about 9:00pm to 10:30pm I simply could not keep count of all the meteors we saw. We discussed the idea that all these incredibly impressive
meteors were from the debris tail of The "Great Pumpkin" 2015 TB
We didn't it realize at the time, but the Taurid Meteor Shower
was also beginning it's
peak tonight, so initially we were quite shocked over the number and intensity of the fireballs.
As much as we were enjoying the meteor shower, it was around 11:20pm that we got a big distraction. I had just noticed the Moon peaking over the
horizon and mentioned it to my friend. Not 10 seconds after I did this, the vast, pitch-black fields around us opened up with the lunatic cries of
hundreds of coyotes all around us... greeting the Moon as it were. A few of them sounded like they were within 10 feet of where we were sitting.
Needless to say, it was quite chilling to suddenly realize we had been hanging around in the dark for an hour and a half completely unaware we were
surrounded by coyotes!
Some time passed and the coyotes finished their Moon songs. Eventually the Auroras did become visible, however faintly. They looked like dim, whispy
red clouds, streaking upward. I had seen Auroras similar to this in a suburb of Chicago a few years back. (No pun intended.)
It was getting close to 1:30am and those fireballs and shooting stars had continued steadily
the entire time. I've never seen anything like it
in my life. Unfortunately though, a haze was beginning to move into the area along with a very cold breeze, so we decided to get going. Once back on
the road, the fog was thick and we could hardly see the sky at all. It made for a perfectly eerie drive home.
All in all it was a fantastic night that I'll never forget. The Auroras may have been lacking for the most part, but I'll say again the Taurid meteor
shower was simply incredible,
and I seriously recommend everyone spend some time watching the skies during its passing: you will not regret it!
This meteor shower is expected to extend throughout the month, however it will peak between Nov. 5th-12th, so there's plenty of time yet.
I wonder if any of you also happened to catch what we saw tonight?
edit on AMq000000amTuesday00000011320 by Aqualung2012 because: (no reason given)